(Heart of Illinois ABC) – The average energy bill is expected to rise $600 a year after June 1, but stay cool while paying less for electric starts with little to no charge.
“Everybody’s kinda preconditioned for price increases, and then when the utility bill comes they just say, ‘Hey, there’s just one more example,'” says Brad Johnson, co-owner of AAA Northgate Heating and Air. .
In light of the increase on top of what is normally a higher bill, Ameren encourages customers to consider ways to cut costs around their homes. This can include regularly servicing your air conditioner, installing fans in your home, and limiting sunlight during peak heat throughout the day.
“We want to create that habit so they’ll continue to do it through summer, winter, and all seasons,” says Stephanie Robinson, energy efficiency consultant at Ameren.
Here are some tips the company suggests for staying energy efficient during the warmer months:
- Avoid using the oven on hot days
- Use a stove, microwave, outdoor grill instead of using the oven, as excess heat adds to the room.
- Set the water heater to 120 degrees
- The US Environmental Protection Agency reports that turning your water heater down to 120 degrees can save 6-10% each year on your hot water heating costs.
- Use floor and ceiling fans
- Fans use a fraction of the energy consumed by central air conditioning units.
- Wash a full load of laundry/dishes
- Washing in cold water (and cold water detergent) can get your clothes just as clean while costing just 4¢ per load.
- Focus your AC
- Try to concentrate your air conditioning flow in the rooms or areas of your home that you use the most. It’s more energy efficient than trying to cool your whole house. Close the air vents in rooms you don’t use frequently, such as guest bedrooms and the basement, and only open them when you need them.
- Clear overgrown areas around your outdoor air conditioning unit
- Pull or cut some of the weeds, grasses and other debris surrounding your outdoor air conditioning unit to ensure that it is running efficiently.
- Replace your AC filter
- Your air conditioner has probably accumulated a lot of dust from sleeping in the winter, so replace your AC filter before you start cooling your home. This will not only help the AC unit be more efficient, but it will also help keep the air free of dust.
- Don’t cool an empty house
- When you leave for summer vacation, remember to raise the thermostat to 85-90°F so that you don’t cool your home when no one is around to enjoy it. Also make sure that drapes, furniture, etc. do not cover your air vents, allowing free airflow throughout the room.
- Switch to a smart thermostat
- These thermostats can automatically change the temperature according to your preferences, so you can set a lower temperature when you’re at home and a higher temperature when you’re at work.
- Change your ceiling fans
- If you changed the direction of your ceiling fans to clockwise this winter, it’s time to turn them back on. When your fans spin counter-clockwise, it creates downward airflow to make you feel cooler. Simply flip the switch (usually located at the base of your ceiling fan) to lower your energy bill.
- Get a dehumidifier
- Illinois summers are notorious for their humidity, so combat it with a dehumidifier. Reducing the amount of humidity in the air can make your home feel much cooler, without having to turn on the air conditioning.
- Upgrade your cooling units
- Since older units tend to be less efficient, it might be time for you to upgrade to a newer, more energy-efficient air conditioning unit.
- Close blinds or curtains when the sun is shining on your windows
- When the sun hits your windows, keep the sun out and heat your home.
If you’re having trouble paying your energy bills, Ameren also offers assistance for eligible customers. You can find more information about it by visiting their official page here.
If you want more information on why Ameren and other utility companies are increasing their rates, you can find more information in our article here.
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